Man Pleads Not Guilty to Kidnapping and Sex Trafficking Charges
RENO, NV—John Thomas Abrams, 47, aka Buck, aka David George Garnett, aka John McDonald, aka David Blackwell, appeared before a federal magistrate judge today and pleaded not guilty to charges that he kidnapped a 15-year-old boy and girl in California and transported them to Reno with the intent that the girl engage in sexual activity, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Abrams is charged in a criminal indictment with two counts of kidnapping and one count of transportation of a minor for illegal sexual activity. Abrams was ordered detained pending trial, which was set for Dec. 1, 2014. If convicted, Abrams faces a minimum of 20 years in prison on the kidnapping charges, a minimum of 10 years in prison on the transportation charge, as well as fines of up to $250,000 on each count.
According to the allegations contained in the indictment, between about July 12 and July 22, 2012, Abrams kidnapped the girl and the boy in the Sacramento, Calif. area, and held them for ransom, reward, and otherwise. Abrams then transported them to Reno, Nev. with the intent that the girl engage in illegal sexual activity.
“Investigating persons who prey on minors, elderly, and other vulnerable victims, is a top priority of the Justice Department and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “We have dedicated more resources than ever to catching and prosecuting these predators, and are working with local, state and federal partners to make sure they face the criminal justice system.”
The investigation is being conducted by the FBI and the Sacramento Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carla Higginbotham.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals, federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.